The Head of the Charles Regatta is celebrating its 46th anniversary this year, and it will do so with a little help from an unlikely country.

Iraq will send six athletes from their national rowing team to join U.S. military veterans who have just returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. On Oct. 17, the American and Iraqi rowers will be training together to demonstrate how effectively the sport of rowing brings people together.

Then, they will race each other later in the afternoon. 

Believe it or not, the Iraqi rowing squad is a force to be reckoned with. The six-man team will include two Olympians. A coach and team manager also will join them.

The event, organized by Community Rowing, is a prequel to the Head of the Charles Regatta, which will take place on Oct. 23 and 24.

The Charles is infamous for its lengthy and difficult course. It stretches 3.2 miles beginning at Boston University‚Äôs DeWolfe Boathouse and ending just before Northeastern University’s Henderson Boathouse.